Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was fined $25,000 by the NFL for his comments related to game officials after Sunday's (January 16) 23-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Wild Card Round, a source confirmed to ESPN on Thursday (January 20).
While speaking to reporters after the game, Prescott addressed Cowboys fans at AT&T Stadium throwing objects onto the field, which he initially thought was directed at his teammates in anger over the loss and called "sad."
However, after a reporter told him the objects were directed at referees, Prescott responded, "Credit to them then."
The quarterback's criticism came after an incident in which a referee collided with him and the offensive line, which delayed the spotting of the football as the Cowboys tried to spike the ball to stop the clock, but failed to do so, before time expired on their final offensive drive.
Prescott issued an apology on his verified Twitter account on Tuesday (January 18), writing:
"I deeply regret the comments I made regarding the officials after the game on Sunday. I was caught up in the emotion of a disappointing loss and my words were uncalled for and unfair.
"I hold the NFL Officials in the highest regard and have always respected their professionalism and the difficulty of their jobs. The safety of everyone who attends a game or participates on the field of a sporting event is a very serious matter.
"That was a mistake on my behalf, and I am sorry."
Prescott, who is a finalist for NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year award, received criticism for his comments seemingly supporting the fans' treatment of the officials from some media members and the National Basketball Referees Association, which encouraged the NFL to hand down a punishment in order to "discourage this deplorable behavior in the future."